Grosse Pointe: Pier Park

7 Oct

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It’s the last Sunday in September, though it feels more like July; the sky is powder blue, the sun’s rays are strong, warming my skin while dancing on the surface of the water. We are at Pier Park, a waterfront paradise in Grosse Pointe Farms, at the foot of Moross Rd at Lake Shore Rd. The Grosse Pointe Farms Foundation is hosting the 8th Annual Concours d’ elegance; an exhibit of vintage and exotic, domestic and foreign vehicles owned by all Grosse Pointe residents and open to the public. It’s the perfect opportunity to check out the (residents only) park and look at beautiful cars.

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Following the asphalt path we walk along the shoreline of Lake St. Clair, I can’t get over how stunning the lake is today, it sparkles.  Walking, we notice benches tucked under shade trees, there’s a nice view of the Yacht Club to the left. The lake itself is home to numerous species of fish and waterfowl, it is the source of drinking water for over 4 million residents of Michigan and Canada. Freighters carry more than 60 million shipping tons per year of iron ore, limestone, coal and grain, nearly 40 million of that originating in Michigan, across the lake. Interestingly, the lake is very shallow, averaging only 10 feet in depth. 

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We enter the harbor area with 333 mooring spaces for Farms residents, boats vary in style and size; an old wooden Chris-Craft, cabin cruisers and offshores. High at the top of a mast a man is making electrical repairs,while he is totally at ease, watching him makes me nervous. The lake spreads out before us; pleasure boaters revel in the loveliness of the day, kayaks glide across the surface, a freighter heads downriver; through the camera lens we can see the windmills in Canada. Looking towards shore we see the Community Building, lush landscaping surrounds the patio area and screened porch, there’s a bevy of activity on the land and water. We stop in the building which is home to the Parks and Recreation office; the Great Room is inviting with its fireplace, wooden bookshelves and leather furniture.

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Back in the park we meander about, we come upon a sleek 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood in black, look at all that chrome! There’s a swank 1941 Caddy in blue with a silver top, wood panels and a Bakelite steering wheel are luxe, there’s a 1948 Buick convertible just down from that. The Detroit Electric Car was built by the Anderson Electric Car Co, the Houk wire wheels were manufactured in Buffalo, NY, in those days everything was clearly marked as to where it came from. The 1926 Chrysler is sweet; I like the way automobiles reflect the time period in which they were built–much like fashion and architecture.

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A red, Ford-powered, De-Tomaso Mangusta catches Kris’s eye as do the 1969 Shelby GT 500’s; bold stripes, scoops and Cobra emblems make them super-cool. The 1976 Trans Am has a lot of lookers, a customized 1961 Chevy Impala hugs the ground, everybody loves Ford T-Bird’s, this red ’66 is a beauty. Walking around we realize just how large the park is, it offers some of the best panoramic views in the Pointes.

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We head to the Village to grab some lunch, Side Street Diner is tucked away on St. Clair Ave, the restaurant plays tribute to the American lunch counter. Inside, old-fashioned diner lights, black and white historic photos and stool-seating at the counter take us back in time; a row of layer cakes are spread out across the counter top in glass-covered pedestals. Wall colors coordinate with floor tiles in yellow, orange, turquoise, a large fork and spoon hang near the kitchen. The menu is huge, Kris goes right to the breakfast page. Service is fast and friendly– within minutes our food arrives. The traditional Eggs Benedict are delicious; 2 poached eggs, Canadian bacon on English muffins, the hollandaise sauce is outstanding, the homefries are good too. Our server recommends the Apple pancakes, I can see why; 3 fluffy, tender, buttermilk pancakes generously topped with lightly sweet, cinnamon-y escalloped apples, yum! We split both things so it’s a nice combo of sweet and savory. 

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